The pissing match ends here.

Several more lies listed this week that I can so identify with.

“Everyone is more disciplined then you and way more spiritual.”
“Everyone else can do it all.”
“Everyone else is more capable than you.”
“You are the only one who is falling apart and feels this way.”

Homeschooling can be wonderful. But it is also very stressful. If you send your child to a school, and they can’t add or read “on time”, you can blame the teacher. But now… Now you are the teacher. If your kids don’t meet the standards, you have no one to blame but yourself. No one wants their child to be stupid. No one wants to be the lowest rung on the ladder. But just exactly what standard do we use to measure ourselves and our kids against? There really is no set what and when. For example, reading. Most schools want the kids reading at least by the time they hit first grade, if not earlier. But studies have shown that not every kid is ready to read by then. I’ve met some homeschoolers (old pros who’ve been doing this for more then 10-15 years) who admit that their kid didn’t start reading until well after the school-appropriate age, and yet their kids turned out just fine, some with college degrees even. So really, there is no set standard. The result, many of us wind up silently comparing our kids to the other kids at the Co-op meetings or support groups e-lists or park days.

Thus homeschooling is turned into a sort of pissing match among the moms. If Mom1’s kids are beating your kids in math, you are really hoping that your kids are beating hers in science or something, just to equalize things. We tend to brag about our children’s accomplishments, and hide the areas where we are falling short. We want the accolades, the oohs and ahhs, the “Wow, I need to try that,” from other moms. We don’t have a roomful of parents and kids ready to declare our wondrous teaching talents. We don’t have anyone giving us awards for being the best teacher. Most of us don’t even get a thank you for making dinner (In the interest of honesty, I do. My DH has made it a habit to thank me for things like that so the kids understand, and I of course reciprocate when he cooks) or doing the laundry. Our talents – be it cleaning, cooking, or getting those little light bulbs in our kids heads to click on – are often taken for granted by those around us. If we don’t proclaim our successes, who will?

I just love this little comic from Todd Wilson on this:

toddwilson-comic.jpg

How many times do we feel like Marci? That feeling of inadequacy, that is what drives us to find something, anything that our kid does better than Betty’s kids.  So we accentuate the positives, and ignore the negatives.  We pretend that everyday is kittens and sunshine, while our children hang on our every word.  We ignore the days we spend more time yelling then teaching.  We don’t mention the fact that we let them play computer games all day, or that we had a Mythbusters marathon and considered it Science class.  We act like we have a giant chip on our shoulder and feel the need to prove that we are doing just as well as Betty and her brood.  We want the affirmation.  We want someone to say that we are their best inspiration.  Then we feel guilty because it’s not the full story.  So we swear to make the changes that will have us fulfilling that vision we’ve put out there of the perfect family, with the perfect lessons, and the perfect everything, only to fail miserably.  Then we feel even worse because not only can we not achieve what we think Betty has, but we feel like a fraud for portraying that we do.

So how can we, as a homeschool community, fix this?  It won’t be easy.  But if we recognize that even Betty has bad days, and be more honest with ourselves and those around us, it would be a great start.

Homeschooling is not easy.  As Todd says on page 45,  “No one homeschools because it is easy.  Most do it because they think it is best.  That should comfort you because the best things are almost always the hardest things. …  Homeschooling must be really really good, because it’s really really hard.”  It is not always a bed of roses.  There are days when you will pop in a movie and pray for just 5 minutes alone in the bathroom to regain your sanity.  There are times when those days will out number anything else.  But as Todd says, we are God’s Plan A for our kids, and the best is yet to come.

G.U.E.S.S. – the local science fair

Posting to help out Lydia of LittleBlueSchool:

The G.U.E.S.S. Homeschool Science Fair took place on May 5th in Norfolk VA, where smart young scientists shared their research and conclusions with their peers, their families, and the judges. Fun was had, friends were made, hypotheses were proven, and prizes were awarded! Thank you to all the sponsors of the G.U.E.S.S. Homeschool Science Fair!

If you would like to help thank these generous sponsors by boosting their links on key search words, please steal this post, links and all, and republish it to your blog. When you’ve done this, email guess@littleblueschool.com and let us know, so that we can add you to our “Science Fair Bloggers” and give you some links and traffic too! You’ll get a link on Little Blue School, Homeschooled Twins, and on the homeschool science fair web site. Need the code? Click here to get the .txt file with all the links in place.

Moore Expressions is a homeschool bookstore in Virginia Beach, VA. They sell used and new homeschooling curriculum, host a support group, and publish a newsletter called the Bayith Educator. They are the premier source for homeschooling books in the Hampton Roads area.

Art of Dance Academy is a dance and theater school on the border of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. They offer “Tiny Tots” toddler dance classes, youth classes for ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop, and adult classes too. Most importantly, the host the famous summer princess dance camp.

Norfolk Karate Academy offers classes in Tang Soo Do (Korean karate) and Gracie Jiu Jitsu (Brazilian grappling and self-defense). With classes for children, teens, and adults, it’s a great way for anyone to get in shape and kick things in a socially acceptable way!

Nauticus is Norfolk’s maritime museum and home of the USS Wisconsin battleship. The hot new exhibit is Seabots: Pilots of the Deep! Have you seen it? Nauticus is in the process of setting up a Homeschool Advisory Group to talk about homeschool science programs at the museum.

Mariner’s Museum has amazing programs for homeschoolers learning about maritime science, history, and even pirates! Their next homeschool open house is on May 15th and features a class in pirate lore. Visit Mariner’s Museum for historical exhibits and educational programming.

Homeschoolingbooks.com offers homeschool curriculum packages to take the guesswork out of selecting materials that compliment each other to create a whole year of learning for your homeschooler. Three collections are available for each level, and individual books are for sale too.

Brooks Systems offers standalone software and web applications that check legal compliance in all municipalities in all fifty states, and create truth-in-lending documents for residential lenders. Using Brooks for your automated mortgage compliance, you can be sure your loans are safe.

Dr. Bernard Nebel has written two books to help homeschool teachers integrate learning in different areas of the curricula into one living breathing learning experience. His new book, Building the Foundations for Scientific Understanding, is a science curriculum for K-2.

Young Chef’s Academy is a marvelous kitchen classroom with amazing cooking classes for kids. Go ahead – cover yourself in flour! Most amazing of all: their summer camp offerings are themed around the Olympic Games. Cook for the Gold with Camp Can-I-Cook in Norfolk this summer.

Mad Science is Hampton Roads’ premier provider of science enrichment classes for children. Summer classes include “Crazy Chemistry” and a space camp developed with NASA! New homeschool science classes are being offered in Norfolk and VA Beach, with more planned for fall.

eScienceLabs creates boxes of joy for science loving homeschoolers. In each kit is a complete science experience — from individual lessons to full years of high school labs. Hands-on science kits are the answer to your laboratory woes. Everything is in there: test tubes, goggles, and fun.

Folkmanis Puppets makes the most delightful animal puppets available outside Santa’s workshop. Meet their most unusual creations like llamas, Chinese dragons, ostriches, flying squirrels. Unusual materials create realistic textures, and they all move in very realistic ways. Irresistible.

Book Exchange is the largest used bookstore in Eastern Virginia. Unlike most musty and confusing used stores, this one is clean, bright, inviting, and has a huge selection of used homeschool books.

Thank you for your help in promoting these homeschool-friendly sites. They took a risk on sponsoring us in the first year of our science fair, and we appreciate their support.

We didn’t get a chance to participate this year, but I am so looking forward to next year! GeekBoy loves science experiments, almost as much as he loves Legos and computer games. Besides, I love several of the sponsors, and can’t wait to check out the rest.

I adore Moore Expressions. Not just one of the best places for curriculum in the area, they also have a small play area for the little ones to play while Mommy is pouring over books and making choices of what to do. Awesome!

GeekBoy is taking his first Mad Science course. It’s been great fun so far. “Cyndi Stargazer” the teacher is just hilarious.  She even let the little two, who aren’t registered for the class but will wind up auditing the course by default of having a big brother in the course, participate in the experiments.  Way cool in my book.

I can’t wait to check out the Mariner’s Museum later this month, and I’ve been very intrigued by the recent moves Nauticus is making towards a more homeschool friendly environment.

eScienceLabs looks like it will be a great resource for my Geek when he gets a little older. I’m definitely keeping Art of Dance Academy in mind for next year. ThePinkDiva has been taking a creative movement beginners ballet class this year and loves it. Our current venue has closed though, so next year is up in the air. And if I’m ever in the area, I will have to check out the Book Exchange, especially after the glowing review Lydia wrote.

Lies.

I’ve joined this study, with the rest of the women over at Heart of the Matter. Boy oh boy do I ever need this now.

So, at the end of chapter one, Todd Wilson asks, what are some of the lies that I might be believing about my kids and our homeschool journey?

Lie #1: They ain’t learning nuttin’. I mean, seriously, the proof is in the pudding, or the assessment test. GeekBoy is doing 3rd grade level Math, reads at a 5th/6th grade level, and he just finished his 2nd grade level Language workbook. He passed his CAT test with a 98% overall. thePinkDiva may not seem to be doing much, but she can read far more than she lets on. She also passed her Kindergarten CAT test, with a 64%. Not bad for my Pre-K kid. So, obviously, they are learning. The whole “unschooling” thing throws me for a loop. And then I here about others who are doing music lessons, and science fairs, and all that, and that leads to lie # 2.

Lie #2: I’m failing them. When I here about those in the area who are involved in co-ops and doing science fairs and running all over the state for lessons… I start to wonder. Am I doing enough with them? Should I be doing more? I grew up in a traditional system. so it’s hard for me to accept that not sitting at the table for even an hour, they can still be learning.

There are other lies… but those are the big two.